Vision and History 

Catherine Beard, an English Gypsy leader, learned her advocacy the hard way after being evicted from her home.

The Advocacy Project believes that civil society can be a powerful force for justice – particularly when it is led by people who have been directly affected by the wrongs they are seeking to right.

Most, but not all, AP partner organizations were founded, or are led, by individuals like Catherine Beard (photo) who emerged from a marginalized community and have directly experienced discrimination. This gives them enormous credibility and motivation. Our pages are a testimony to these remarkable people. They are, truly, AP’s natural stakeholders.

We are ready to support any community-based organization that works for peace and human rights and is representative of a marginalized community, although we prioritize the following themes: women; children; conflict; disability; environmental justice; and minority/indigenous rights.

We do not seek out new partners to avoid imposing an agenda, but anyone can find us and in this connected age many do. As of December 2016 AP had worked with 114 communities. We consider 16 partners to be active. Of these, ten hosted a Peace Fellow in 2016.

After his father disappeared in Nepal, Ram Kumar Bhandari became an inspiring advocate for other grieving families and led protests to demand justice

We are only able to take on one or two new partners in any year, but we keep in touch with past partners and help when we can. This can mean paying website hosting fees for the Afghan Women’s Network or using our non-profit status to channel donations to the Palestinian House of Friendship.

We offer several services to partners that under Technical Support. This technical support is available year-round, but the most intense period will be the summer, when we are able to deploy a Peace fellow to volunteer with partners.

A typical Fellow will likely have professional experience, a passion for IT, and be studying for a Masters degree, and we can continue sending Fellows for as long as the partner finds it useful. (BOSFAM in Bosnia took 14 Fellows between 2003 and 2015.)

By taking a Fellow, partners will cement the relationship with AP, strengthen their advocacy and open the way to long-term support. They are not expected to cover the Fellow’s cost but we do ask that they mentor their Fellow, support their research, ensure security, make the fellowship experience as rich as possible, and report back to us.

The Gulu Disabled Persons Union, a leading advocate in northern Uganda, has mentored AP Peace Fellows like Katy Dutile since 2008.

We understand that limited resources may make it difficult to provide translation and transport and will start asking partners to recruit a graduate student from a local university to volunteer with the partner and work shoulder to shoulder with our Fellow in the summer. This will have the added benefit of extending our fellowship program to excellent students from the Global South.

Eventually we hope that all AP partners – past and present – will have pages on our site. For the moment we are focusing on partners that work with us on a campaign, are making an advocacy quilt, or are hosting a Peace Fellow. Each partner page opens with a history of the organization before describing the challenge it faces and the action being taken. The page ends by listing past AP Peace Fellows and linking to photos and advocacy quilts.

We welcome feedback from actual and potential partners. To apply for partnership or request a Peace Fellow please contact us here.

 

AP on Flickr

A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr